"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Bang, Zoom

The Yankees knocked the snot out of the Devil Rays to the tune of 16-1. The highlight of the game came in the first inning after Bobby Abreu hit a three run dinger. Tampa’s starter, Jay Seo was clearly getting squeezed by home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez. He didn’t get a call against Alex Rodriguez, who walked. Robinson Cano reached base on an infield single, and then Seo got ahead of Hideki Matsui 0-2. After taking a ball and fouling two pitches off, Seo didn’t get another call. A couple of more foul balls, followed by another near miss.

That was when D Rays’ skipper, Joe Maddon and pitching coach Mike Butcher had all they could stand. The two men went Batsh**t Tavarez on Marquez, really letting him have it. Marquez was not passive, as he and Maddon looked like two chickens, yelling in each others faces, moving back slightly and then going back in for more. Crew cheif Larry Young was pushed aside by Butcher, and two Tampa Bay coaches had to restrain their pitching coach. Maddon and Marquez were ejected from the game and when play resumed, Matsui fouled off three more pitches before depositing the fourteenth pitch of the at bat over the wall in right field for another three-run bomb.

In more important news, Randy Johnson has been scratched from his start this Thursday due to a strained back which he said “locked up” at the moment:

“I’d rather have 10 or 12 days between starts and feel better than pitch on my regular turn and feel the way I do now,” Johnson said. “I’m missing my last regular season start, which has no bearing on me statistically or on the team, basically, in order to get healthy, or as healthy as I can get, for the playoffs.”
(Don Amore, Hartford Courant)

As it stands now, it seems as if Chien-Ming Wang will start Game 1 of the ALDS, Mussina will go in Game 2, and the Big Unit will pitch Game 3. It’s a strong possibility that Jaret Wright will start Game 4. In other injury-related news, Mariano Rivera looked much better last night than he did in his return last Friday. Hideki Matsui is expected to start in left field tonight while Jason Giambi will hit off a tee today (Torre insists that Giambi needs to be able to play the field in the playoffs).

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver